Pearson, the publishers of the nursing text book stereotyping how racial minorities deal with pain, has apologized for the offensive passages and removed them from the book, after the objectionable section was revealed on social media causing a huge uproar.
Tim Bozik, president of global product development at Pearson, apologized in a video posted on YouTube.
"I want to apologize," he said. "In an attempt to help nursing students think through the many facets of caring for their patients we reinforced a number of stereotypes about ethnic and religious groups. It was wrong."
The book had been in circulation for nearly two years.
"We should have been more thoughtful about the information we put into our curriculum," Bozik added.
Pearson, the world’s biggest education company, published a nursing textbook with racist stereotypes that has been in circulation since 2015.
“Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning” began drawing a lot of criticism after Facebook user Onyx Moore posted a picture of its page 61. The book was released in 2015 but only went viral after internet users found its “Focus on Diversity and Culture” section featured different reactions that Muslims, Arabs, Asians, blacks, Jews, Native Americans and Latinos may have to chronic pain and reduced minority patients to demeaning stereotypes.
One of the outlandish beliefs written in the book claims Muslims “may not request pain medicine but instead thank Allah for pain.” Another stated Jewish patients “believe the pain must be shared and validated by others” and “may be vocal and demanding of assistance.”
“They” call it “cultural competency” I’ve gotten it in Med Surg, public health, nutrition classes.— 🕵🏻♀️ Qui Bono? 🤔 (@esmeraldaseer) October 19, 2017
Of course, none of these claims are true. The book only draws from racist stereotypical depictions of people of color and minority groups in order to promote generalization among nurses. It also bolsters claims the medical field has historically discriminated against POCs.
Case in point: A 2016 study in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” found that black people are widely seen as being less sensitive to pain than white people.
Pearson quickly responded to the backlash and its communications director Scott Overland issued an apology:
“While differences in cultural attitudes towards pain are an important topic in medical programs, we presented this information in an inappropriate manner. We apologize for the offense this has caused and we have removed the material in question from current versions of the book, electronic versions of the book and future editions of this text,” it said.
What we published was wrong. We apologize, and are committed to setting this right. https://t.co/WypUNEFQ4X— Pearson (@pearson) October 19, 2017
They have also promised to review all other nursing texts.
However, what’s astonishing is how the offensive text was able to pass through multiple layers of edits and reviews. The book has been in circulation since at least 2015, so many of its copies have found their way into classrooms. Some nurses who may have very little experience working with people from other races or culture and the book may cost lasting damage to their patients as a result.
In nursing school, we were taught to feed black patients "soul food"— Eric! (@ECholii) October 19, 2017
Understanding cultures == good. Perpetuating racist stereotypes: pic.twitter.com/w557dCLWin— Kelly Hills (@rocza) October 19, 2017
For the future, the publishing giant stated it will recall any books that have this content printed in them. When asked how the offensive text got printed in the books in the first place, Overland said, “We are working with our editorial teams as we speak to determine that.”
Thumbnail credit: Reuters, Neil Hall